Dictionary definitions of religion and atheism

 
  Bwana Chief Commissioner

Ok, out comes the dictionary again  Rolling Eyes

Religion:
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices

Atheism:
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.
"xxxxlbear"


Atheists hold a belief that there is/are no supreme being(s). So there's the Atheist belief. The practice, well I could get nasty but I'll stick to "attempting to suppress opposing beliefs in others*".

So atheism seems to fit nicely into the third definition of a religion. Thanks for the quotes xxxxlbear.

I should point out that if atheists stuck to what can be scientifically established or modelled, such as evolution, they wouldn't be a religion, they'd be a science. It's the fact that they insist on commenting on topics that cannot be scientifically tested, such as the presence or absence of a deity, that pushes them over the line into being a religion. That's why this "we only deal with fact and reality" line is such a load of BS.

*I'm not by any means trying to grab any high ground there - theists are just as guilty of trying to suppress opposing beliefs as theists are.

As I've said elewhere, I have very little interest in this discussion. I consider it a waste of time to be frank. I have started this thread to avoid derailing a different thread, that's all. If this is my last post here, it's because I consider it a waste of time, that's all.

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  steamhead Train Controller

Location: Home
[quote="Bwana"][quote="xxxxlbear"]Ok, out comes the dictionary again Rolling Eyes

Religion:
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices

Atheism:
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.[/quote]

Atheists hold a belief that there is/are no supreme being(s). So there's the Atheist belief. The practice, well I could get nasty but I'll stick to "attempting to suppress opposing beliefs in others*".

No they don't. Most dictionaries list the [i]primary[/i] definition of atheism as "a disbelief in God or gods". Disbelief is not the same thing as denial. If you tell me that you're wearing a yellow shirt and I say "I don't believe you", that is disbelief. I'm not making any claim of my own - I'm simply doubting the truth of your statement. If, on the other hand, you tell me you're wearing a yellow shirt and I say "No you're not", that is denial.

Basic atheism is, as I've already said, and as many dictionaries confirm, simply an absence of belief in gods. It ought to be obvious to anyone over the age of six that you can't found a religion on [i]absence of belief[/i]. The whole notion is utterly absurd.
There are atheists who argue against the existence of god. But since when has denying the existence of something constituted a religion? Denying the existence of god is no more a religion than denying the existence of Thor, the Easter Bunny or Bigfoot.

As for your bizarre claim that atheists are trying to "oppress" people, feel free to provide some examples. But before you do, please take the time to read the following from Austin Cline's atheism blog. I hope it will give you pause to reconsider your position.

"There's nothing about religious theism that would cause a person to imagine that they are being persecuted, but it is something common to Christians. Christianity has taught from the very beginning that adherents would be persecuted for their faith, and the assumption that this is what must happen continues through today, even among Christians who are well-off and suffer from no oppression. In such cases they have to manufacture sources of persecution, and atheists are usually high on the list.

This myth is an expression of just such an attitude: atheists are accused of "interfering" with theists' (usually meaning just Christians') "expression of their faith" (their ability to express what they believe and/or to proselytize) and the "tools of their faith" (the means by which belief is expressed or encouraged). This simply isn't true. Atheists don't try to stop activities such as church services, people saying grace over meals, Catholics taking communion, Muslims praying towards Mecca, etc. Atheists don't try to interfere with theists' expression of faith or the tools of faith — at least insofar as the tools don't include the organs of the state.

Both atheists and theists do work to prevent the government from singling out any one religion or any particular religious beliefs for endorsement, promotion, or any other special treatment (positive or negative). There is a huge difference between a private individual expressing their faith and an officer of the state expressing personal religious beliefs while acting in their official capacity. A person praying over a meal in their home or while standing on a street corner is not the same as an officer of the state trying to insert a personal prayer into the official business of the government. Stopping the latter is not the same as interfering with the former — and both atheists and theists have a strong interest in ensuring that the latter doesn't occur.

This is not a "bad habit." It is not fair for the government of all the people to single out any particular religious beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, practices, or scriptures of just some people for special favoritism, whether in the form of endorsement, encouragement, or financial support. This isn't about the excision of religion from the face of society because preventing the government from giving special privileges or treatment to one religion isn't any sort of excision. People's religion will remain just as it has been — there are no religions that cease to exist when they cease being privileged.

It's bizarre, frankly, for religious theists to imply that their religion would be suppressed or excised in any fashion if the government is prevented from privileging them. It's almost as if they fear that their religion will disappear without government favoritism and that people won't join or remain entirely of their own accord. I believe this signals a significant lack of confidence in one's religion.

This myth is readily accompanied by a claim that "honest" atheists should be willing to just leave theists be in their expressions of religion. Apparently, an atheist isn't being honest with themselves if they insist that atheism itself is just disbelief in gods but then turns around and argues against state-supported religion or against religion generally. It's almost as if such theists cannot conceive of how the two are ultimately separate issues, unable to imagine that theists might also argue against state-supported religion or religion generally.

I suppose that there are reasons for this because for some theists, everything they believe and do proceeds from their religion. Such theists may not be able to understand how others aren't basically the same. What we have in such cases is thus a failure of imagination: they don't understand that atheists as well as other theists don't base everything they believe and do on their position regarding gods. That's the generous interpretation, at any rate.

A less generous interpretation might be that such theists don't want to deal with atheists as they really are — a diverse lot with very diverse belief systems and diverse reasons for doing what they do. If atheists are to be treated as scapegoats, it's easier to just lump them altogether and pretend that they all follow a "religion" called atheism. Who has time to address all the different arguments and positions offered by atheists who are Secular Humanists, Objectivists, Buddhists, Raelians, and so forth? That takes work and requires trying to understand people who are different."

Regards, Adrian
  MBAX Chief Commissioner

Location: Mostly the Imperial
Easier to follow the $900.00 handout rules than this.

Good luck... Wink
  steamhead Train Controller

Location: Home
Easier to follow the $900.00 handout rules than this.

Good luck... Wink
"MBAX"


I do apologise.

Perhaps I should restate my arguments in simpler terms.

Bwanas claim that all atheists deny the existence of god: Bollocks. Some do, some don't.

Bwanas claim that atheism is a religion: Bollocks. An absurd argument that doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.

Bwanas claim that atheists "attempt to supress opposing views in others": Bollocks. Some Christians complain they are being persecuted or oppressed simply because another group questions their priveledged position in society.

That better? Laughing

Cheers, Adrian
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
Atheists have faith.

They have faith in themselves.

For example, they have faith that they will wake up the next morning.

Everyone has a Self; Everyone has an I; so you don't say atheists have no faith, they do.
  Breaking Point Assistant Commissioner

Easier to follow the $900.00 handout rules than this.

Good luck... Wink
"MBAX"


I do apologise.

Perhaps I should restate my arguments in simpler terms.

Bwanas claim that all atheists deny the existence of god: Bollocks. Some do, some don't.

Bwanas claim that atheism is a religion: Bollocks. An absurd argument that doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.

Bwanas claim that atheists "attempt to supress opposing views in others": Bollocks. Some Christians complain they are being persecuted or oppressed simply because another group questions their priveledged position in society.

That better? Laughing

Cheers, Adrian
"steamhead"


Roy, the entire tax legislation makes more sense...

I wake up at 6am every weekday.
I do the shopping every Monday night at 6pm.
Polish my shoes every Wednesday at 3:35.
Kick the dog every afternoon at exactly 4:45am.
Does that make my routine a "religion"???
  VBAndy Chief Commissioner

No, but your a cruel bugger for kicking the dog on a daily basis:lol:
  KEG Junior Train Controller

Bwanas claim that all atheists deny the existence of god: Bollocks. Some do, some don't.

Bwanas claim that atheism is a religion: Bollocks. An absurd argument that doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.
"steamhead"
Bollocks to both of those, to use your terminology.

Look up the root meaning of atheism. "A", as a prefix, and "theism".

Atheism is the belief that there is no God, or at least the rejection of theism - theism, by definition, being the belief in one or more god. Find me an atheist (by definition of the word, not just what they've decided to call themselves), who does not deny the existence of god(s).


And in regard to your second point - until there can be undeniable proof that there is/are no god(s), then believing that there is/are none is faith. You may argue that it's grounded in science, but there is more than one measure of truth, and many will argue that science doesn't answer everything. Ergo, the argument does stand up to at least some scrutiny.
  dullsteamer Deputy Commissioner

Location: Waterfall, NSW
Atheists hold a belief that there is/are no supreme being(s). So there's the Atheist belief. The practice, well I could get nasty but I'll stick to "attempting to suppress opposing beliefs in others*".
"Bwana"

According to who? You? Give examples, or, dare I say it, some evidence?

I should point out that if atheists stuck to what can be scientifically established or modelled, such as evolution, they wouldn't be a religion, they'd be a science. It's the fact that they insist on commenting on topics that cannot be scientifically tested, such as the presence or absence of a deity, that pushes them over the line into being a religion. That's why this "we only deal with fact and reality" line is such a load of BS.
"Bwana"

And you'd know, dealing as you do in myth, fantasy, invisible friends and LOADS of BS... You seem to be playing the NOMA card here. Pity that religion keeps insisting on commenting on topics that CAN be scientifically tested - like evolution. And while we're at it, why can't the presence or absence of a deity be tested scientifically? You worried what the answer might be?  LaughingLaughingLaughing

*I'm not by any means trying to grab any high ground there - theists are just as guilty of trying to suppress opposing beliefs as theists are.
"Bwana"

Yes, theists are as guilty as theists. That wasn't a typo, that was a Freudian slip. Remind me, when did atheists have their equivalent of the Crusades, or the Inquisition, or the Salem witch trials, or anyone of a hundred other such travesties? Do tell...

Mark.
  dullsteamer Deputy Commissioner

Location: Waterfall, NSW
Atheists have faith.

They have faith in themselves.

For example, they have faith that they will wake up the next morning.
"574M"


More BS. Do you seriously think we think like that?

"I'll just brush my teeth, have a slash, and then get my clothes ready for tomorrow, because I have faith I'll wake up in the morning".

What bollocks. Another clown who thinks the worst thing he can accuse atheists of is thinking like he does.

Mark.
  dullsteamer Deputy Commissioner

Location: Waterfall, NSW
Basic atheism is, as I've already said, and as many dictionaries confirm, simply an absence of belief in gods. It ought to be obvious to anyone over the age of six that you can't found a religion on absence of belief.
"steamhead"

Adrian, it ought to be obvious to anyone over the age of six that their invisible friend isn't real, but a surprising number of people don't ever make that discovery, hence the continuing presence of religion in society.

In accusing atheists of being members of a religion, people like Bwana and his cohorts make the mistake of assuming everyone thinks in the manner that they do.

Me, I'd rather drink a pint of diarrhea than succumb to religious beliefs.

Mark.
  Bwana Chief Commissioner

Quick responses to specific questions and claims that haven't yet been answered...

As for your bizarre claim that atheists are trying to "oppress" people, feel free to provide some examples.
"steamhead"
Most recently, that I'm aware of, on Thursday just gone, when
Religious chaplaincies? Why would you want to involve them? Debates should be about facts and reality, not superstition.
"dullsteamer"


why can't the presence or absence of a deity be tested scientifically?
"dullsteamer"
I'm all for it, I'd love to see this definitively answered. So tell me, how do you plan to scientifically test it? Or are you just being argumentative for the sake of it?

edit - coding
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton

I wake up at 6am every weekday.
I do the shopping every Monday night at 6pm.
Polish my shoes every Wednesday at 3:35.
Kick the dog every afternoon at exactly 4:45am.
Does that make my routine a "religion"???
"Breaking Point"


Your routines and habits are your customary and preferred ways of behaving and/or frameworking your realiity.


i.e. making your world.


They are not a religion.
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
Atheists have faith.

They have faith in themselves.

For example, they have faith that they will wake up the next morning.
"574M"



More BS.
"dullsteamer"


I observe You being by being scatological about what I have said.

You need to show prior cause for your language and show where disrespect is first given you by citing or linking to  ab-hominem attacks upon you by myself - by showing posts where it has been said you cannot cogitate, think, process information or post replies. Or reduction of your person to less than human.

Or are you just being nasty?

The time for nastiness on Railpage has passed, in case you hadn't noticed. You don't take your anger, your rage, your moods, your high-and-mightiness from one post to the next. No. Not here. Not now.  That sorta thing had the brakes put on it of late.  Which brings me to the point. This is a forum about railways, and while there is a place where there can be other discussions about other topics, they are NOT places where you can be deliberately rude, disrespectful, or post in a manner that intimates that other people here on Railpage are lesser persons that you or have animals for ancestors.


You cannot abuse people or treat people as less than human beings, just because they believe something different to you. Or understand the meaning of a word  or term differently to you, or, understand and apply that word or term differently to you and your customary way of seeing, believing, acting. Forbearance and tolerance is what is needed.  



Do you seriously think we think like that?
"dullsteamer"


You speak for and on behalf of all atheists? Please supply your auspice to make that claim.  

Be very careful, as your reply infers I have said what it is you think. That is not so, I simply made statements about faith in themselves, not about faith in any agency spiritual, transcendental or otherwise, outside themselves.

I think your statement falls, as you have made an inference you cannot sustain and you claim to speak for a class of persons wherein you cannot supply an auspice.  



"I'll just brush my teeth, have a slash, and then get my clothes ready for tomorrow, because I have faith I'll wake up in the morning".
"dullsteamer"


Nope; that is a fallacy. You cannot undertake fatal self harm and at the same time maintain the intention to undertake acts the day after. Your fatal act of self harm causes you to leave your mortal coil and so you have no actor, agency or will left within the body to complete the intention of waking up in the morning.    



What bollocks. Another clown who thinks the worst thing he can accuse atheists of is thinking like he does.
"dullsteamer"


Made accusation? Who did I accuse of what?
Do show. I wait.
  dullsteamer Deputy Commissioner

Location: Waterfall, NSW
This portentous writing style of yours - is it meant to impress me? It reads like something taken from a World of Warcraft fan-boy site.  Rolling Eyes
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
Thinks ya mean pretentious.  Not sure what ol' 574M's long-winded posts are a portent of, except on a lot of occasions some of the better padding seen on RP.

574M, use a large degree of brevity in your posts, otherwise the percentage of people who slide past what you have to say will continue to increase.
  574M White Guru

Location: Shepparton
As you requested, DT,

scatalogical ---> refers to dullsteamer's use of the term BS

show prior cause for ab-hominem attack --> means he needs to show where I said he was full of sh*t.

Or are you just being nasty?  --> possibly statement of fact

The time for nastiness on Railpage has passed --> statement of fact. Check 42101's signature

You cannot abuse people or treat people as less than human beings --> means speak to people like you would like to be spoken to

Forbearance and tolerance is what is needed.  --> statement of  fact.

Please supply your auspice to make that claim --> means "who told him he speaks for all atheists?"

your reply infers I have said what it is you think --> analysis by me.

fallacy -->   an error in reasoning. You cannot plan to kill yourself AND plan to get up in the morning.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
I'd disagree with the statement that "The time for nastiness on RP has passed".

You need it to raise the quality of posts.  If you're judged by your peers and told in a somewhat forthright fashion to pull your head in when threadspamming or posting repetitive dribble, or making generalisations, or just plain being a knob - then it's much more effective than just moderating where people fear for speaking out against idiocy.

Outright flaming is not desirable, but the occasional jet of fire that's well-directed does a lot of good.  To use a contemporary analogy - if you don't burn off the dead wood and bracken, the resulting undergrowth makes things a lot worse when there are flames.
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
Flames which are inevitable, wherever any debate is possible. I've seen the site become significantly less nasty in the time I've posted here. I've given just as much heat as I've copped, and yes I feel I've deserved the flames I've copped. Without that, my posts would be of poorer quality than they are today. If you can't flame people, then you can't mold them, inevitably leading to the eventual loss of said member, and putting the site into eventual terminal decline.

The day the time for nastiness on Railpage Australia passes, the forums might as well close down, because the site will just be filled with crap from the likes of certain members. It's why we have members like 42101 and Deep Throat.

As an atheist person myself I would not for one second say I have no faith. Do I have no faith that my alarm clock will go off? Do I have no faith that my train will turn up? I take offense anyone would suggest otherwise. I've always understood to be an atheist simply means that I don't believe in a god or otherwise. I might be poorer for that, but my philosophy in life is that I won't live my life by any book, especially one that comes out of a printing press.
  steamhead Train Controller

Location: Home
Bwanas claim that all atheists deny the existence of god: Bollocks. Some do, some don't.

Bwanas claim that atheism is a religion: Bollocks. An absurd argument that doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.
"steamhead"
Bollocks to both of those, to use your terminology.

Look up the root meaning of atheism. "A", as a prefix, and "theism".

Atheism is the belief that there is no God, or at least the rejection of theism - theism, by definition, being the belief in one or more god. Find me an atheist (by definition of the word, not just what they've decided to call themselves), who does not deny the existence of god(s).


And in regard to your second point - until there can be undeniable proof that there is/are no god(s), then believing that there is/are none is faith. You may argue that it's grounded in science, but there is more than one measure of truth, and many will argue that science doesn't answer everything. Ergo, the argument does stand up to at least some scrutiny.
"KEG"


You really don't get it, do you.

For the umpteenth time, the primary definition of atheism, as listed in most dictionaries, is "a disbelief in God(s)". I've already given a description of the difference between disbelief and denial, so I'm not going to repeat myself here. FYI, the prefix "a" means not and the word "theist" means someone who believes in at least one god. Therefore an atheist is simply someone who is not a theist. This does not mean that such a person need hold any beliefs of their own.

Why is this simple concept so difficult for you to understand?

Regarding the second part of your post, the original point in question was whether arguing against the existence of god constitutes a religion. Of course it doesn't, any more than arguing against the existence of Odin or Santa Claus constitutes a religion. Since you are so infatuated with dictionaries, go and look up the definition of religion if you must.

Regards, Adrian
  steamhead Train Controller

Location: Home
I'd disagree with the statement that "The time for nastiness on RP has passed".

You need it to raise the quality of posts.  If you're judged by your peers and told in a somewhat forthright fashion to pull your head in when threadspamming or posting repetitive dribble, or making generalisations, or just plain being a knob - then it's much more effective than just moderating where people fear for speaking out against idiocy.

Outright flaming is not desirable, but the occasional jet of fire that's well-directed does a lot of good.  To use a contemporary analogy - if you don't burn off the dead wood and bracken, the resulting undergrowth makes things a lot worse when there are flames.
"Deep Throat"


Agreed. I tend to think people with bad and dangerous ideas are more likely to respond to the fear of being laughed at or ridiculed than they are to a well presented and logical argument.

Cheers, Adrian
  KEG Junior Train Controller

Steamhead, I have a complete understanding of the point you're trying to make - just because I disagree with you, doesn't mean I don't "get it" or that I am stupid. How about I simplify my point for you...

Until you can prove the non-existence or existence of god(s), you have a BELIEF either way.

You either BELIEVE there is/are god(s), or you BELIEVE there is/are not any.

Having a lack of belief in god(s), without having a belief that there are *not* any, is far closer to agnosticism than atheism.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
KEG's reasoning does not compute.

He has left no room at all for the honest, " I don't know."

This is most definitely NOT A BELIEF.
  Warks Minister for Railways

Location: Near H30+059
I believe I'll go out and start an atheist church.

Gotta be a buck in that!
  KEG Junior Train Controller

KEG's reasoning does not compute.

He has left no room at all for the honest, " I don't know."

This is most definitely NOT A BELIEF.
"Valvegear"
It also is most definitely NOT ATHEISM. Refer to the last paragraph of my previous post.

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